How Did Heathrow Airport Collapse

753 Words 4 Pages
Written Report

On October 21, 1994, the tunnel at Heathrow Airport collapsed. The civil engineer responsible for the collapse, Balfour Beatty, was later fined £1.2 million in Feb 1999. Many lives were put at risk and hundreds of flights were cancelled. The collapse was an engineering catastrophe as it had the potential to crush and kill many civilians using the Piccadilly line and seriously harm bystanders near the area, it was extremely lucky that there were no casualties. A large crater was formed due to the collapse, causing movement and swaying to nearby buildings and car parks (BBC, 1999).

Along with Balfour Beatty’s fine of £1.2 million, Geoconsult (an Austrian engineering consultancy) had also been fined. Geoconsult had failed to ensure public and staff safety and thus were fined £500,000. Both Balfour Beatty and Geoconsult were charged another £100,000 for trial costs. The tunnels were being constructed underneath the world’s busiest international airport so there was a
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System defects and warning signs were ignored for a very long period, low quality construction such as the shotcrete and concrete lining; which led to crack propagations during the jacking processes. After the cracks and damages had appeared, poor repair work had been done to fix them.
In order to prevent the collapse, the main procedure would have been to observe the potential hazards and carry out the necessary checks for quality of construction and health and safety. By observing the warnings and system defect notices and carrying out risk assessments at an early stage and throughout the construction, the team could have identified the flaws and faults. By taking the time to ensure quality and not just increase productivity, the structures built would have been stronger and possibly need fewer

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